Horseback Tours

Experience South Dakota’s natural wonders from the same vantage point as its earliest Western settlers by taking a horseback tour. When traveling by car or by bus, the vehicle puts a mandatory distance between you and your surroundings, while horseback sightseeing tours afford nature lovers a unique opportunity to intimately explore the region. Aboard a horse, you’ll be more attuned to the sights, sounds, and smells of South Dakota’s forests, prairies, mountain ranges, and water reservoirs.

There are dozens of reputable horseback tour organizations throughout the state, most of which follow scenic trail routes. Of the available horse tours, many explore the following areas:

  • Badlands National Park: One of the most unique geological formations in the world, Badlands National Park is renowned for its dramatic granite rock formations, ancient fossil beds, and wildlife-rich deserts.
  • Custer State Park: With more than 71,000 acres of prairies, mountains, and forests, Custer State Park affords picturesque horseback riding with available overnight camping.
  • Lewis & Clark Recreation Area: Trail riders are afforded breathtaking scenery along the 4.1 miles of maintained trails. A fully functional horse camp is available for overnight stays.
  • Mickelson Trail: This 109-mile gravel and limestone trail provides spectacular horseback views of the pine-covered mountains of the Black Hills.
  • Bear Butte State Park: Horseback tours are permitted west of Highway 79 around Bear Butte Lake. The scenic trails connect to Centennial Trail, which in turn connects to the Black Hills. A horse camp is available for overnight camping.

Depending on the horseback tour company you choose, your tour may include trail rides, meals, or overnight camping stays. From novices to experienced riders, anyone with a love of nature and horses can find a tour to accommodate their skill set. If you want to hone your skills before setting off, consider enrolling in a horseback riding lesson or joining a beginner’s trail ride at one of the dude ranches in the area. Veteran riders can visit an authentic Western ranch to participate in ranching activities and indulge in more adventurous horseback riding.

Be sure to wear the proper attire and footwear for safe, comfortable riding. Before setting off on your Old West adventure, take some time to familiarize yourself with the horse and the standard commands for moving forward, stopping, and turning. Once you feel comfortable, you can ride off into the breathtaking South Dakotan sunset.

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